Drought reveals long-abandoned 450-year-old church in Mexico

MEXICO CITY -- A colonial-era church surfaced as a severe drought lowered the water level in a Mexican reservoir.

A drought hit the watershed of the Grijalva river, dropping the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir by 82 feet, the Associated Press reports.

This is only the second time the church has been revealed since it was flooded when a dam was finished back in 1966. In 2002, the water was so low, visitors could actually walk inside the church.

The church is 183 feet long and 42 feet wide, with walls rising 30 feet. The bell tower reaches 48 feet above the ground.

"The church was abandoned due the big plagues of 1773-1776," said architect Carlos Navarete, who worked with Mexican authorities on a report about the structure.

"It was a church built thinking that this could be a great population center, but it never achieved that," Navarrete told the AP. "It probably never even had a dedicated priest, only receiving visits from those from Tecpatan."

The Latin Times reports that local fishermen have been taking people on tours of the church by boat.